Ancient Roman Government

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The city of Rome is located on the Tiber River in Italy. It has nearby volcanoes that spread ash across the city, promoting the arable land. Rome began about 1,000 B.C., and was founded by Romulus and Remus.

The Etruscans were a people who conquered the early Romans in 616 B.C., and ruled over them for the next 100 years. Around 550 B.C., the Romans finally kicked the Etruscans out and began to rule themselves again. They came up with a new type of government called a republic.

An Athenian democracy had one leader at the top and was elected by the citizens. After the election, all the citizens helped run the city because everybody voted. This is the type of government Rome had before the Etruscans conquered it. After that, there was a Roman Republic. The Roman Republic had a group at the top and was elected by the citizens as well. After the election, voters did not do much in terms of running the city.

In the Roman Republic there were two consuls, or leaders elected by the voters. The citizens had representatives that voted for them. There was a senate, or a part of the government, which was made up of the representatives of the upper class. These representatives were called senators and the upper class was called patricians. There was also an assembly, or a part of the government that was made up of representatives of the common people. These representatives were called tribunes and the lower class was called plebeians. In addition to these, there was a forum. It was originally the main downtown area of Rome, but it later became the center of Rome?s government, religion, and arts.

By 264 B.C., Rome was having problems with Carthage, the capital city of the Phoenician Empire. It was directly across from Rome in North Africa and both wanted control of Corsica and Sardinia. In 261 B.C., there was the first Punic war. Twenty years later, the Romans won, but they were losing the first ten years. Then they gained new ships and began to win. They gained control of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily. In 221 B.C., the second Punic war was started when Hannibal, a Carthaginian general, wanted revenge on the Romans because his father was killed in the first Punic war. In 202 B.C., there was the Battle of Zama when the Roman general Scipio went up against Hannibal.
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